How to work with Wedding Photographers

A wedding videographer’s guide to working with, not against, wedding photographers.

In my time progressing as a wedding cinematographer/videographer, one of the things I was stressed about most starting out was the wedding photographers. I found myself stressing the night before and during the day if they would step in front of me or be in my way, or if they would just get mad and we would be in an all our war fighting to get the shot before the other did. My first wedding went wonderfully! I was fortunate enough to work with an amazing photographer who was very kind and wanted to work with me. We were constantly tossing ideas back and forth and making sure we weren’t getting in each others’ ways. But, then came my second wedding…

I worried we would get in an all out war, fighting to get the shot before the other did.

Going into this wedding I really looked forward to it: the location was nice, and bride and groom were gorgeous, and they were not the least bit camera shy. All of this came to a screeching halt as soon as I started working with the photographer. It was clear that said photographer was clearly burned out by the job, and that their heart was not really in it. The person seemed moody the whole time and never failed to look me in the eye and then proceed to stand right in front of my camera. I have enough footage of the photographer standing in front of me I could practically make an entire 6 min highlight film! It was always so convenient to have this person come and stand right in front of me right while tying to capture the wedding vows. And don’t think that somehow this had something to do with me… we had set up our tripods an hour before the ceremony and had communicated and both at the rehearsal and before the ceremony where my cameras would be set up to film.

I have enough footage of the photographer standing in front of me I could practically make an entire 6 min highlight film!

This didn’t stop the madness. Even though our cameras were at a high of over 6ft of the ground with telephoto lenses, leaving plenty of room to duck below, the photographer instead stared us down and then proceeded to walk in front of us or just blatantly stand in front of us. Anyway, long story short, sometimes there is nothing you can do to prevent a sour apple in the bunch. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE working with photographers at weddings, and often form lasting friendships with them and find myself shooting more and more weddings with them. This being said, there are several strategies that I use to try to encourage a relationship before i go film a wedding.

1. View and follow their social media accounts and website

Viewing the photographer’s Instagram or website can give you a great insight into how they shoot, their style, and the types of poses they do. Knowing these things always helps me plan out my shots and which ones I will try to capture while the photographer is doing the posing.

2. Send a “hello” email

The second thing I always do when I find out which photographer I will be working with at a wedding is to shoot them an email introducing myself and my team. I include a short blurb telling about myself and my company, and also send some samples of my work so they can get a feel for the films that I create. I also complement their work, giving details from the things that I’ve seen on their social media account. I then go on to say that I am excited to work with them and to please let me know if I am ever in the way or if I can do anything to help.

3. Send a follow up email a week before the wedding

Another thing I always do is to send a follow up email a week before the wedding. I do this to just again say hi and say that I am looking forward to working with them and ask them about their second shooter.

4. Address them by name when introducing yourself

The benefit of following their social media accounts and website is that there is probably a photo of them online. This helps me be able to find a photographer on the day of the wedding and address them by name throughout the day.

5. Make conversation

There are a lot of things that photographers can learn from videographers, and that videographers can learn from photographers. Take time to get to know the people you are working with. Sit with them when eating dinner, and talk to them when you’re shooting and walking around. Make suggestions and give tips on shots that you thought might be cool based on something you saw. Trust me, they’ll be happy you tell them if they missed something!

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Until next time,